Aurélien specialises in genuine Italian-made driving shoes with an emphasis on smart luxury. Although founded in 2015, they have developed a certain renown for the quality and authenticity of their footwear.
In this guide, we will provide a detailed review of Aurélien Shoes with a focus on their background, their best models, as well as the shoe construction processes:
- Aurélien Shoe Reviews
- Aurélien Brand History
- Where Are Aurélien Driving Shoes Made?
- Manufacturing Process & Construction
Feel free to use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read more.
Aurélien Shoes Reviews
Before we present a full review of Aurélien with a comprehensive analysis of their background and production processes, we’ll take a close inspection at a sample of their products. Currently, you can read about the following driving shoes:
Simply use the links above to jump down to each shoe or scroll down to read about them all.
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Style & Construction
Aurélien’s best-selling driving shoe offers rich artisanal detailing by combining visible mocassin hand-stitching and leather laces over a velvety caramel calfskin suede. The attention to detail is particularly noticeable with additional features like the metal-enforced eyelets that reduce wear on high-pressure areas.
Meanwhile, the rubber pebble sole is elegantly crafted by protruding through the suede leather material. As an authentic driving shoe, the pebble rubber sole extends up the ankle for a firm yet comfortable grip when manipulating the foot pedals.
Consequently, these shoes effortlessly exude the Mediterranean charm for elegant, leisurely pursuits. Understated yet stylish, they’re an excellent casual choice for summer.
Fit & Comfort
As the shoes are primarily produced for a European market, the shoes are presented in local EU sizing. However, it’s easy to convert to American sizing with our conversion guide.
The leather laces allow you to be comfortable adjust the tightness to ensure a secure fit. However, we found that they were pretty true to size. They’re also very cosy and can even be worn as slippers. Since they’re a distinctive summer shoe for dry periods, they can be used as such during winter.
Indeed, the leather-lined PU footbed is removable and very cosy arch support as well as some cushioning. If you take them out, you’ll notice a cork base too. As they’re made for driving, they’re flexible yet provide the necessary support to ensure comfort.
Value For Money
As genuine Italian-made driving shoes, which are Benchmade using premium materials, we’re nothing short of impressed by the value for money that they offer.
While they are indeed a touch more expensive than some driving shoes that you can find in department stores, these tend not to have the same attention to detail.
However, Aurélien’s driving shoe features all the hallmarks of authentic Italian craftsmanship. For instance, we’ve seen few that feature labour-intensive details such as the pebbled sole that goes through the calfskin suede upper anywhere near this budget.
Style & Construction
As Aurélien also produce penny loafers for women, we were keen to seize the opportunity to try them too. We were particularly taken aback by the leopard print penny loafer style shoes!
Stylistically, they open a variety of opportunities and can be worn both with casual or business wear. Furthermore, the leopard print is eerily realistic and quite luxurious. Meanwhile, the penny loafer style offers an alternative design for those who aren’t fond of the leather laces.
They’re understandably going to be a little more fragile to wear due to the fur exterior as this can easily absorb water or dirt. Therefore, they’re best worn on dry, sunny days.
Fit & Comfort
Despite the fur upper, the shoes aren’t remotely stuffy even in a high heat. Indeed, they breathe well and don’t cause any discomfort. Given that the women’s driving penny loafers are made in the same way as the men’s shoes, they offer all the same comfortable features.
Although they ran a little narrow at first, the leather interior is flexible and broke in after a few hours of wear. Like the men’s driving shoes, they’re an excellent springtime alternative to slippers. However, they’re a fantastic option when heading out in the summer.
Value For Money
Compared to Aurélien’s other women’s shoes, the leopard print is somewhat more expensive. However, when comparing them with the calfskin suede, it’s quite understandable. Firstly, these still feature a leather lining for adding comfort while we can’t stress enough the quality of the leopard print’s fur.
If you’re looking for a stylish women’s loafer, they’re a worthwhile option with versatile uses throughout the year.
Aurélien was founded by Dutch brothers, Joris and Philip Hetterschijt, in 2015. Jaded by the increasing prices of the renowned luxury fashion houses, Philip and Joris sought to undermine by competing on price. Indeed, they believed that a designer quality experience needn’t be quite so expensive.
Therefore, the brothers created a European brand that simultaneously embodied luxury lifestyle while offering real value for money. By focusing on a direct-to-consumer business model, they provided “smart luxury”.
In short, this allowed Joris and Philip to drastically reduce their overheads and the additional costs with stock shoes in physical stores. As a result, they were able to retail their luxury shoes at a significantly lower price.
However, no detail is overlooked with a strong emphasis on every aesthetic detail, including the packaging, as well as the customer service. Starting with driving shoes, the brand soon expanded to include a variety of other casual luxury garments, including knitwear, polo shirts, and other related footwear.
Nevertheless, Joris and Philip strongly believe in the timelessness of style. As such, they focus on stylishly understated and elegant garments that go beyond the confines of fashion.
Where Are Aruélien Shoes Made?
As discerning gentleman satisfied only by the highest standards of craftsmanship, the brothers initially struggled to find suitable manufacturers. When developing samples, factories would occasionally lament that they were challenging to please compared to other clients.
However, Joris and Philip prided themselves in that their desire for perfection was what distinguished them from other brands. Eventually, they tracked down some of the best manufacturers in Italy.
For instance, their driving shoes are produced in an independent southern-Italian workshop. First established by his father, Giovanni inherited the factory and has now run it for nearly 50 years.
Previously, the factory was exclusively producing its wares for a prestigious brand. However, Giovanni decided to instead shift to manufacturing artisanal products for independent luxury brands.
How Aurélien Shoes Are Made
Giovanni’s factory specialises in reinterpreting Italy’s well-established tradition while simultaneously paying homage to its handcrafting heritage. Working in close partnership with the Hetterschijt brothers, they carefully select only the finest leathers to create genuinely breathtaking footwear.
For instance, the driving shoes only use oil-treated Softey suede, which is produced from French calfskin, which is then tanned in Italy. The refined suede is then oiled using an innovative technique, which results in a luxurious sheen.
Templates are used for the clicking, which results in perfect perforations at the bottom of the uppers for the pebble rubber soles. Additional holes along the edges are produced to facilitate the hand-sewn construction that follows later.
Afterwards, the pebble rubber sole is pushed through the perforations before being thoroughly stitched together. Once the lining has been added, both the moccasin stitch is sewn, and the edges are trimmed by hand.
Finally, the laces are introduced as well as the soft PU footbed before the shoes are meticulously packaged and prepared for shipping.
Pedigree driving shoes that live up to expectations are a veritable phenomenon today. Most driving shoes are cheaply manufactured using a cement construction, which will rarely last for more than a season.
Meanwhile, Aurélien has created beautiful and functional Italian driving shoes. Evoking romantic imagery of the French Riviera and a classic Alfa Romeo GT Veloce, they certainly provide an authentic driving experience.
If you want to see more of what Aurélien offer, head to their website. Otherwise, consider checking out some of related guides below:
- All Shoe Reviews
- Best Driving Shoes To Buy Online
- More Shoe Brand Overviews
- Best Casual Summer Shoes For Men
- Bespoke Unit Shoe Homepage
"Timeless design and heritage craftsmanship work in harmony to produce these authentic Italian driving shoes."